2017: Year In Review

At this time of year I like to look back over the past 365 days and pick out the stories that really got my attention. Now if you have something that you think that should be on this list, leave a comment with your thoughts. Now on to the top stories of the year:

The Pwnage In 2017 Was Epic: While Equifax was the posterchild for pwnage, there seemed to be an epic spree of pwnage this year with companies getting pwned right left and center via hacks, ransomware and malware. Clearly, 2017 was the year of pwnage which makes this the number one story of the year by a country mile. Seeing as every time a company get pwned, you and I get affected by it, we can only pray that 2018 doesn’t serve up even more pwnage.

Apple Can No Longer Say “It Just Works”: Apple had some high profile #fails this year starting with the epic security issue where anyone could get root access to a Mac with ease (though that was fixed within a day), followed by vulnerabilities in HomeKit, not to mention numerous other high profile and embarrassing bugs in a variety of Apple products that seems to highlight that their QA process is in free fall. Oh yeah, Apple was caught slowing down iPhones with aging batteries which they tried to explain away, but got targeted with nine (and counting) lawsuits, before offering up an apology and cheap battery replacements. But not before being trolled by their competition. Let’s face it. Apple has seriously lost their way as I guess they spent way too much time building Apple Park and not enough time building quality products. It will be interesting to see if 2018 turns this around for the better, or we witness Apple continue the decline that it started last year.

Rogers Serves Up An Apple Watch Fail: You’d think that when the Apple Watch Series 3 W/LTE popped up, Canada’s largest Telco would be all over it. Nope. It turns out that Rogers don’t support the eSIM technology that this iteration of the Apple Watch uses. At least not yet as they promise support for it sometime in 2018. Too bad Telus and Bell had support for eSIM in 2017. As a result, Rogers spent the last quarter of the year trying to spin the lack of support for eSIM in some way that would keep their customers from bolting to Bell and Telus. In the process they gave me lots to write about as frustrated Rogers customers kept serving up examples of how badly Canada’s largest telco was dealing with this. By the time they come up with eSIM support for the Apple Watch in 2018, their customers may not care as they’ll be using their Apple Watches on another telco.

Rogers Serves Up An Epic Service Fail: In the midst of the Apple Watch Fail, Rogers had a multi-day outage that left any user who swapped Rogers hardware offline for days at a time before service was fully restored to users with vague promises of compensation to boot. What didn’t help is the fact that during this multi-day outage, Rogers managed to make an already bad situation worse by making promises that they couldn’t keep, and sometimes going silent when customers were asking for help. Clearly this was not Rogers finest hour. Hopefully Rogers CEO Joe Natale who has a reputation for being laser focused on customer service can improve this so that none of this happens again in 2018. If I were them I’d start with their gigabit Internet offering which has been problematic from the start.

Bell Makes The News For Questionable Sales And Customer Service Practices: Late this year a story broke that Bell was using extremely high pressure sales tactics on every call. And this was coming from current and former Bell call center employees. Of course Bell denied this, but the scale of customers who were reporting the same thing made it clear that Bell has a serious problem. One that I don’t think is going to get solved anytime soon as the first step to fixing a problem is admitting that you have one. Which Bell hasn’t done. But they are free to surprise me in 2018 by putting an end to this behavior and offering up better customer service than they have to date. If they did that, I may be convinced to switch from Rogers.

Hyundai Canada Finally Delivers Android Auto And Apple CarPlay: Over the last two years I’ve been reporting on the frustration of Hyundai Canada owners not being able to retrofit their vehicles with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay which is something that other car companies have offered for at least a couple of years now. That changed late this year as Hyundai Canada found a way to deliver these updates to their owners, which I can say made a lot of owners of Hyundai vehicles going back a couple of years very happy.

Canadians Rush To Score Cheap Cell Phone Plans: As if to underscore the fact that Canadians get hosed when it comes to cellular phone service, late in the year Canadians rushed to score $60/10GB data plans from pretty much every Canadian carrier. All the mayhem was precipitated by a price war breaking out between them. Is this a turning point that will lead to cheaper cell phone plans for Canadians? The jury is still out on that. But maybe 2018 will offer up some clues on that front.

The IT Nerd Investigates Two Tech Support Scams: When a pair of my clients got hit by tech support scams based out of India, I took it upon myself to investigate both. I took the time to illustrate who they are, what they do, and what you can do to protect yourself. And during the process of investigating the second one, I got a threat to take down my story “or else.” That didn’t go over well with me as I do not respond to threats. The fact is that the people who run the scams are total and complete scum, and anytime I come across one, I will expose it so that it makes it harder for them scam people of their hard earned dollars.

Linksys Serves Up Bad Firmware To Its User Base Causing Frustration In the Process: Linksys late in the year pushed out a firmware update for their WRT32X and WRT3200ACM routers which are their flagship routers. The firmware in question caused issues and resulted in frustration for many who use that router. I was affected by this when they pushed this out. And I had issues when I tried to get help, though I was eventually able to roll back to a firmware that worked. Though that didn’t work for everyone. In the meantime both Netgear and ASUS were serving up routers to me in the hopes that I would review them and give them some positive PR in order to steal some marketshare from Linksys. Which according to them, they did. What made the situation worse is that affected users felt that Linksys wasn’t hearing them. So I offered some free advice to Linksys as one of the things that I do is help companies to build high performing technical support and customer service contact centers. But even though they took my advice and even started to swap routers for affected users, it may be too late for them to recover from this as there is still no fix for this issue as I type this. Thus 2018 may prove to be a make or break year for Linksys.

Kaspersky And The US Go Toe To Toe: Kaspersky AV because of the fact that it is a Russian company with alleged ties to Russian spooks ended up on the wrong end of the stick this year when it came to its dealings in the US. It didn’t help that they were kind of implicated in the leaking of sensitive NSA data along the way. And Though they were banned by the US and the company sued the US as a result, this story is far from over. We’ll see where this goes next in 2018.

Uber Had A Really Bad Year: In no particular order, they got caught by Apple doing things they should not have, they got caught covering up the fact that they got pwned, and oh yeah, they dumped their CEO and lost some key battles on a few fronts this year. Not a good year if you’re Uber at all.

Stuff I Didn’t Get Time To Cover: Bitcoin, Facebook, Russia and “fake news”, Net Neutrality, Tesla Model 3, Augmented Reality, Smart Speakers. I’m sure there’s more, but those are the big items that I simply didn’t have time for this year.

The IT Nerd Goes To India…. Twice: There were two business trips to India (one of them with a brief detour into Germany for 27 hours) with more business trips planned for 2018.

The IT Nerd Takes A Road Trip To Newfoundland: My wife and I took a two week road trip to Newfoundland and back this year. Take it from me, if you want to see Canada, doing a road trip is the way to do it as this is a beautiful place.

Reviews, Reviews, And More Reviews: This year was a busy one for me as I did 53 product reviews this year. On top of all that, I did the fourth annual IT Nerd Awards. Without giving too much away, you can expect to see much more of that in 2018.

And now, here’s my top ten posts in terms of page views from this year:

  1. Rogers Rolling Out New Modem/Routers For Ignite Internet…. Why You Should Care
  2. How To Fix “Windows can not connect to the printer 0x00000057.”
  3. A Plot Twist On The Rogers/Apple Watch Series 3 Story [UPDATED]
  4. Rogers Ignite Gigabit Internet: Not Living Up To The Hype [UPDATED x5]
  5. Review: GTA Car Kits Pure Bluetooth Car Kit
  6. Review: Rogers NextBox 3.0
  7. Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF103C (Model K010)
  8. Another Plot Twist On The Rogers/Apple Watch Series 3 Story
  9. Why Is Rogers Not Going To Sell The Series 3 Apple Watch?
  10. Review: Kristall Liquid Screen Protector

As if to highlight the fact that Rogers did not have a good year, Three stories on the Rogers/Apple Watch debacle show up in the top ten. That’s not good if you’re Rogers. I also note two stories on my problematic experience with Rogers Gigabit Internet pop up as well. Which confirms that I was not the only person to have problems with Rogers fastest Internet offering. That’s not good for them as well. Clearly, Rogers has some serious work to do in 2018 to turn this around as from a PR perspective, this is pretty bad.

And the top ten countries that visit my blog are:

  1. Canada
  2. United States
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. India
  6. Germany
  7. Indonesia
  8. Netherlands
  9. Singapore
  10. Ireland

In all, people from 192 countries visit this blog. What’s really interesting is that I’ve received page views from Syria for the first time. Honestly, I am not sure what to make of that seeing that they have an ongoing civil war and they’ve been hit with economic sanctions. But it shows that my blog has a global reach with almost 2 million page views this year which is 25% higher than last year.

Here’s to 2018 as for better or worse, the tech world is really going to be very interesting. And I will be here to comment on it.


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